Nasdaq Index, Dow Jones, S&P 500 News: Wall Street Cautious After Strong Jobs Report, Rate Cut Hopes Dim

James Hyerczyk

Strong U.S. jobs data lowers S&P 500, Nasdaq-100, Dow Jones on opening, dimming early Fed rate cut hopes, spurring bearish sentiment.

Nasdaq-100, S&P 500, Dow Jones

In this article:


  • U.S. job growth beats estimates, unemployment falls to 3.7%
  • Fed rate cut likelihood decreases, impacting markets
  • Bearish market outlook due to potential delayed rate cuts

Strong Jobs Report Influences Market Opening

The major U.S. stock market indexes opened lower on Friday following a robust U.S. jobs report indicating a resilient labor market.

The unexpected strength in job growth, with nonfarm payrolls rising by 199,000 against an estimate of 180,000, and a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.7%, tempered hopes for an early Federal Reserve rate cut. This news contrasts with recent data suggesting a softening labor market.

At 14:33 GMT, the blue chip Dow Jones is trading 36101.44, down 15.94 or -0.04%. The benchmark S&P 500 Index is at 4579.71, down 5.88 or -0.13% and the tech-weighted Nasdaq-100 Index is trading 14289.12, down 50.87 or -0.35%.

Implications for Federal Reserve’s Rate Decision

The Labor Department’s report significantly impacted market expectations, with the likelihood of a Fed rate cut in March decreasing from 57.7% to 46.7%, as per the CME Group’s FedWatch tool. Despite the solid employment figures, analysts still anticipate the Fed maintaining current interest rates in the upcoming meeting.

Market Movement and Investor Sentiment

This employment report spurred a mix of reactions in the financial markets. Equity markets have been rallying, with the S&P 500 up 19% for the year, buoyed by optimism around peak interest rates and strong quarterly earnings. Meanwhile, the 10-year Treasury yield has seen a significant drop from its October high. Stocks like Qualcomm, Lululemon Athletica, and Honeywell showed varied premarket movements, reflecting the market’s recalibration post-jobs data.

Looking Ahead: Consumer Sentiment and Stock Movements

Investors are now poised to gauge consumer sentiment with the upcoming University of Michigan’s preliminary data for December. Additionally, market movements, such as Carrier Global’s rise after its deal with Honeywell and First Solar’s boost following an upgrade, indicate a dynamic response to the latest economic indicators and corporate news.

Contrary to typical market reactions, the strong U.S. jobs report could spur a bearish outlook in the short term. Despite indicating a robust economy and labor market, this data may delay Federal Reserve’s anticipated shift to a rate-cutting schedule.

Markets, having factored in potential rate cuts as a boost to economic growth, might react negatively to the prospect of sustained higher rates. This could lead to a cautious or bearish sentiment in equity markets, as investors reassess the implications of a longer-than-expected period of tighter monetary policy.

Expect some downward pressure on stock indices like the S&P 500, as the strong jobs data complicates the Fed’s rate decision timeline.  In this scenario, sectors sensitive to interest rate fluctuations may experience heightened volatility.

Overall, the market faces a period of adjustment and potential pullback, as it grapples with the implications of a resilient labor market on the Federal Reserve’s policy trajectory.

Technical Analysis

Daily E-mini S&P 500 Index

The E-mini S&P 500 Index, currently at 4634.25, presents a bullish stance in the market, particularly influenced by the rollover effect. Despite this, the index is actually trading lower in the current session.

It stands significantly above both the 200-day moving average of 4323.69 and the 50-day moving average of 4407.03, indicating an overarching bullish momentum.

The index’s position above the minor support level of 4562.50 further underscores its strength, providing a potential platform for future gains.

In summary, while the rollover effect paints a bullish picture, the session’s actual performance injects a degree of wariness into the market outlook.

About the Author

James is a Florida-based technical analyst, market researcher, educator and trader with 35+ years of experience. He is an expert in the area of patterns, price and time analysis as it applies to futures, Forex, and stocks.

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